Archive for January, 2011

Fun Book Finds: Writers Gone Wild by Bill Peschel

Posted January 26, 2011 By Jennifer

I saw this book today in my store and AS SOON as I saw the title, my twitter chats with various authors all popped into my head at once!! Can you imagine what people will write about TODAY’S authors?? (All those antics during various conventions will be fodder for future installments.) I think this is going to be another one for my bookshelf, lol.

**As a reminder, books in the Fun Book Finds feature are NOT ones I’ve read myself (yet). They are interesting titles I find while working at my local bookstore.**

Author: Bill Peschel
Original Release Date: November 2, 2010
Pages: 224
Genre: Humor / Fact & Trivia
ISBN #: 978-0-399-53618-2

**Following blurb taken from Bill Peschel’s website.**

If you’ve imagined famous writers to be desk-bound drudges, think again. Writers Gone Wild rips back the (book) covers and reveals the seamy underside of the writing life.

Insightful, intriguing, and irresistibly addictive, Writers Gone Wild reveals such fascinating stories as:

* The night Dashiell Hammett hired a Chinese prostitute to break up S. J. Perelman’s marriage (and ran off with his wife).

* Why Sylvia Plath bit Ted Hughes on the cheek.

* Why Ernest Hemingway fought a book critic, a modernist poet, and his war correspondent/wife Martha Gellhorn (but not at the same time).

* The near-fatal trip Katherine Anne Porter took while high on marijuana in Mexico.

* Why women’s breasts sent Percy Bysshe Shelley screaming from the room.

* The day Virginia Woolf snuck onto a Royal Navy ship disguised as an Abyssinian prince.

Pull up a chair, turn on good reading light, and discover what your favorite writers were up to while away from their desks. Sometimes, they make the wildest characters of all.

So tell me… who do YOU think will end up in a future edition of someone’s Writer’s Gone Wild collection??

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“BLANK” Makes Me Happy – Diana Rowland

Posted January 14, 2011 By Jennifer

Welcome to the first of my new monthly feature to find out what’s making some of our favorite authors smile.

Our first guest author is Diana Rowland, author of the Kara Gillian: Demon Summoner Series. I love, love, love this series, and the third book, Secrets of the Demon was just released last week.

    

You can read my review of Diana’s first book in the series, Mark of the Demon, HERE.

You can read my review of Secrets of the Demon HERE.

Here’s what Diana had to say about what’s making her smile these days.

Things that make me happy: The fact that people really seem to like my books. Does that sound corny and sappy?  Sorry! But it really is the biggest thrill in the world to know that I might actually have a shot at pulling this gig off!

Okay, seriously, there are lots of other things that make me deliriously happy, even more than the fact that I seem to be doing all right as a writer! I’m pleased and relieved that my daughter only had a mild cold this week and that it didn’t turn out to be the flu. I love that my husband and I have had some terrific date nights recently (although usually they tend to be date afternoons, since that usually works better with our schedule.) And yes, I could probably write up a few paragraphs about all sorts of things that really lift my spirits… but I think I’ll just show y’all instead:

   

  

  • Explanations:
  • Pic 1) The Kid. Need I say more?
  • Pic 2) The darling husband is a HUGE Yankees fan, and the last time we were in NYC a good friend of ours got us free tickets to a game!
  • Pic 3) Kitty!  Need I say more? (This is my Angel kitty. Not pictured are Demon and Seraphim.)
  • Pic 4) Yes, that’s me when I was about sixteen. I was a HUGE Doctor Who fan. (Still am!)  Total Geek. (Still am!!)
  • Pic 5) My agent, Matt Bialer. He’s made of much win.
  • Pic 6) The perfect red!!

Happy 2011, y’all!!!

After she sent all those fantastic pics… I just had to ask a couple of questions, about them, and the new book…

1) It’s not at all corny that people loving your books makes you happy. Who was the first person you let read one of your books? What was their first impression? Did you do much altering based on their comments?

The very first person I let read one of my books was a woman with whom I worked when I was a dealer at a casino in Mississippi. I was writing a sprawling epic fantasy and I would bring in chapters to work as I finished them and give them to her to read. Knowing that someone *wanted* to read the chapters as I finished them was a huge motivator to keep going and finish. Unfortunately the book suffered from First Novel Syndrome, i.e. it sucked..LOL  Okay, it didn’t TOTALLY suck, but it had enough issues that it wasn’t worth trying to rewrite it (once I finally accepted it wasn’t the work of genius that I’d originally thought and realized that it HAD issues.)  Doubly unfortunately the woman then went on to have an affair with my then-husband…  but hey, at least I’d finished a novel! (And I really needed to ditch his ass anyway. I suppose I should be grateful to her for finally opening my eyes…  Nah. Still can’t stand her!)

2) My sister is a HUGE Doctor Who fan, which Doctor (which Doctor? witch Doctor? haha) are you in that pic? Why do you love the show? Seems to me that the show is having a crazy boost of popularity right now, have you noticed?

I started watching Doctor Who when I was in high school–which was right at the very end of the Jon Pertwee era. I was a rabid fan all the way through the Tom Baker years and beyond through Peter Davidson and Colin Baker, but when I went off to college I couldn’t get any stations that were still playing it when Sylvester McCoy was the Doctor. Sad! However, when the new series started up on BBC America, I was utterly thrilled to see what they’d done with it. It retained all the wonder and geekiness of the original, but they’d peeled away a good measure of the cheese and given it a pathos that made it absolutely ROCK. *fangirl sigh*  Oh, and I’m doing an odd cross between Tom Baker, Romana, and Peter Davidson in that picture. Not intentionally…  it just sort of turned out that way! (I have NO idea why I never had a date in high school..hahaha.)

3) You say on your site that you would like Kara’s story to be an 8 or 9 book series. Is Ryan’s backstory part of the long arc of the series, or will we find out before then exactly what his secret is? Is there anything more you can share about him for those of us who were left with our mouths hanging open at the end of this book? (that would be me, you brilliant, evil woman, lol)

*evil laugh* You will definitely find out more about Ryan, Rhyzkahl, Kara, Msatl, Vahlla, Szerain, and the demon realm (and no, I haven’t introduced a couple of those characters yet!) as part of the long series arc. The next book will be titled SINS OF THE DEMON, and we’ll start to find out just why Ryan is called an oathbreaker.  I say “start” because it’s very complicated, and it will take some time for Kara to figure out the truth–and then decide what to do with that knowledge. She’s not going to have an easy time of it, that’s for sure. But yes, Ryan’s backstory–and Rhyzkahl’s, for that matter–are VERY critical to everything that has happened and will happen.

4) Rhyzkahl says he wants to take Kara to his plane. If Kara allows that to happen, do you anticipate writing in depth about that alternate world? I can imagine the kind of trouble she could get into there, and what it would take if, say, another with similar skills tried to go after her. *caughRyancaughZackcaughAuntTessacaugh* Have you thought about that in terms of complete worldbuilding, or as a secondary activity?

Yes, she’ll be heading back there, though perhaps not in a way that she would have wanted. And yes, that’s going to be very important as far as the overall plot. The demon realm and our world are linked–and Kara will need to learn what exactly that means for both worlds if she’s to have any hope of saving [spoiler redacted.] 😀

AAAAAHHHHH… she IS evil, lol!! But I just love her! Thanks so much to Diana for answersing (kinda) my questions. Now it’s YOUR turn. Have you read the books, are they on your TBR list? What do YOU want to know about Kara, Ryan, Rhyzkahl and the rest of the crew? What do you want to know about Diana? She’ll be stopping in throughout the day to answer your questions. AAANNNDD she *may* have sent along an extra ARC of Secrets of the Demon for one lucky commenter to be given away by random drawing at midnight tonight. 🙂

 

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Author: Diana Rowland
Series: Kara Gillian: Demon Summoner, #3
Other Titles In Series: Mark of the Demon (#1), Blood of the Demon (#2), Sins of the Demon (#4, coming soon)
Format: MMPaperback, eBook
Pages: 320
Original Release Date: January 4, 2011
ISBN #: 978-0756406523

Secrets! SECRETS? Three books in… we were right there… RIGHT THERE… and wham!… the book ended.

Secrets of the Demon continues to follow police detective and demon summoner Kara Gillian as she tries to balance her natural and supernatural abilities to solve crimes in Beaulac, LA. Kara’s been through a lot the last two books. She’s hunted killers, accidentally summoned a sexy, dangerous demonic lord, learned unsettling things about the aunt who raised her, got sent to, and returned from the demonic realm, developed a teeny-weeny-not-so-professional crush on her talented and hunky FBI partner, became tied to the previously mentioned sexy demonic lord as his personal summoner to save the previously mentioned hunky FBI partner, and earned herself a spot on a discreet government task force that investigates crimes with “unusual” characteristics. All this and she still had time to catch the bad guy and swap fantastically snarky barbs with her fellow detectives. In this book, she adds a crash course in the music industry, more creepy killers, and more questions than answers.

This newest part of Kara’s story starts out with her and Ryan, her FBI partner who is also gifted with a degree of “othersight”, staking out a concert to follow up on threats to the group’s lead singer. Within the first few pages we go from jammin’ to the the music, to flying demons and fishing people out of the river! Diana tends to start her stories out with a bang, and this was no different. The case evolves from one new band trying to make it big, into a web of sneaky deals and lots of dangerously misplaced trust.

The trust issue comes up in more ways than one for Kara. Not only are there relationships to investigate related to murders involving the band, but she is forced to look closer at her own personal relationships. Her connection with her aunt has been strained since she was revived from her “coma”. And her professional, and hopefully-more-than-professional, relationship with Ryan hasn’t been the same since she pledged herself for three years to Rhyzkahl. Kara struggles with how to mend those strained ties at the same time she needs to rely on them to help solve her current case. I love the newest addition to her slowly growing circle of friends. Jill makes the perfect comic counterpart when things start to get too tense, or when Kara needs a jolt of girl time to figure out what to do with the men in her life.

Speaking of the men in her life. What do you do about a demonic lord that you think might actually have feelings for you? Can you trust that he’s not just playing you to have sexy earth times? And what about your best friend who you’ve fallen for, but who can’t see past your decision? Can there be an acceptable balance? Yeah… I don’t know either. Welcome to Kara’s world.

I love that the people closest to her know about the supernatural elements in their world, and know at least a little about what Kara’s abilities are. It can be frustrating when the main characters in a story are hiding the arcane from everyone else. I think that having that group of people who know, understand, and respect her for her gifts makes the story stronger. I also think the person who knows, but kinda wishes he didn’t, makes the story hilarious and adds a little jolt of reality.

The thing that really got me with this particular part of the series, is the sneaky way Diana has started giving us information. There are a few questions we readers have had for a while, and I have a feeling we’re getting right to the heart of everything. Diana’s website FAQ page says she’d like this to be an 8 or 9 book series, putting the next book right in the middle of that story arc. I can tell we’re getting there because the backstories of the characters are really starting to fill themselves in. It’s both brilliant and completely frustrating.  The actual reveal of information is so well written, and flows right in with the rest of the current case’s storyline. HOWEVER, it’s absolutely maddening that we’ve got the hint of what’s going on, but not enough information to make it all make sense! And I’m oh, so certain that what I THINK is happening, is only the tip of the iceberg.

Overall, Secrets of the Demon was exactly what I thought it would be, what I hoped for. Fast paced, exciting, funny, sometimes sweet, sometimes sexy, sometimes creepy, and all the time fantastic. I’m such a sucker for this series. If you haven’t started it yet… go… now… buy… read. Then come back and let me know what YOU think!

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Author: Kate Pearce
Pages: 320
Original Release Date: August 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover, MM Paperback, ebook
ISBN#: 978-0451230942

Rosalind Llewellyn is brave, beautiful, intelligent, and will cut a vampire’s throat without thinking twice. She is one of the main characters in Kate Pierce’s Kiss of the Rose. Kate has written a beautiful love story with paranormal elements, set in the glamorous yet turbulent era of King Henry VIII. Rosalind is called to the court of the king to investigate when dead bodies begin showing up drained of blood. Not only is she fighting against a rogue vampire, but she has to fight against an enemy of her family. Rosalind’s enemy, Sir Christopher Ellis is oh so yummy! He is dark, mysterious and dangerous. Rosalind is a Druid and Christopher is a member of a cult that slay the Druids. He is sent to court to assist the Vampire council with the rogue vampire. He’s also expected by his family to fulfill his duty to kill Rosalind.  Christopher struggles against his prejudices as he comes to realize that the Druid’s aren’t as bad as he had been taught. As it often happens when there is a strong hatred between the lead male and female characters, things begin to heat up with some very steamy consequences.

The book is a little slow to get going, but the action picks up and really begins to push the story along. The story takes place within the court of King Henry VIII and Katharine of Aragon, but they do not play a huge role.  Kate does a great job of introducing the characters. However, I do not feel like they were completely fleshed out. I tend to like to get to know the characters in the beginning of the series and watch them develop as the story expands. Although the characters are likeable and have great chemistry I would have like to have seen a little more of their back story. Kate reveals glimpses of Rosalind’s and Christopher’s pasts but I wanted to know a little more, especially their early lives and what lead them to become who they are. Kate is absolutely amazing when it comes to the “love” scenes. They practically scorch the page!

Kiss of the Rose is only book one in The Tudor Vampire Chronicles, and it certainly sets up the series well. I liked the ending because it left me satisfied with Rosalind and Christopher’s story up to this point, but left the door wide open for future books. However, a warning to those of you looking for the garden variety “happily ever after” (yes, I know you’re out there), you’ll have to wait just a little longer to see what Kate’s got up her sleeve for these two. I, for one, can’t wait until Feburary to see what happens when one of history’s most infamous women, Anne Boleyn, get wrapped up in the world of The Tudor Vampire Chronicles!

Now… a special treat for all of us… Kate Pearce graciously agreed to take time from working on Mark of the Rose (book 3 in the series, due out in August) to answer our author questions. You all read, I’m heading to check out her songs… you’ll see…

1) When you write, do you prefer quiet, or do you listen to music? If you like music playing, what is your preferred genre? Do certain characters have their own personal “soundtrack”?

I don’t listen to music when I write because I have a tendency to start typing the lyrics into my books. I have 4 kids, 3 of them boys, so I wouldn’t say it is exactly quiet in my house either, because I always have one ear on alert for screams and fights.So my soundtrack is kids, which makes me even more happy to escape into my imaginary world.
Now some of my characters do have their own songs because I do listen to music in the car. For example, the book I’m just finishing up, (Mark of the Rose)  has the soundtrack of  “Fields of Gold” the Sting song because there’s a big love scene in the book that just fits perfectly with the music and the lyrics.

 2) Where do you write? In an office, at the dining room table, at a local coffeeshop? Do you prefer to write alone or with a group? If you write with a group, do you also read/critique each other’s work?

I mainly write at my desk at home when the kids are at school/college. My desk is in my bedroom, but its a pretty large room so I have everything set up for me with space to spare. Occasionally I write at a coffee shop if I’m waiting on my kids for something. I do belong to a critique group and we share our work, which has been immensely helpful for me. But I’ve never been much of a brain stormer. I tend to get the ideas and work them out myself. 

3) How do you prepare for release day? Are you calm and focused, or do you get stressed? Do you like to make promotional appearances or stay at home to watch lists and numbers?

Despite my laid-back appearance, I’m actually very well organized, (with 4 kids you have to be LOL) so I stay calm, I make lists, I keep a calender of what I need to do, when its due, and where I’m supposed to be. Last year, due to writing deadlines, the only week we could take our family vacation was the week Kiss of the Rose came out, so I had to do 4 blogs, a live chat and some other promo stuff at the same time! it was a bit crazy.
I don’t really think promotional appearances make much difference to your sales unless you are a really huge author like Nora Roberts or J. K. Rowling. I’ve done a couple of solo book signings and its not like you’ll get 200 people or anything-maybe 10 if you are lucky? I do like do the big author signings at RT and RWA because hundreds of people come to those and its fun.

4) What was your favorite Halloween costume (or other costume party costume)?

I have to disappoint you here-being originally from the UK I don’t really get into the spirit of Halloween. I love watching all the kids dress up though. But I will be dressing up at the RT convention in April. I already have my Bollywood costume and my Vampire one!

 5) If you could go anywhere on vacation (and not interfere with your deadlines), where would you go, and what 3 items (besides food and clothes) would you bring with you?

Australia and New Zealand. I’ve been to some lovely places in the world and I’d like to add these two. I’d bring my laptop, my camera and my iPad.

6) What song best describes your life? If you can’t think of one, who would you want to write/perform a song just for you?

What an interesting question 🙂 I can think of two songs that really resonate with my life view and they are “Sky fits Heaven” by Madonna and “White Shadows” from Coldplay. Go listen. 🙂

**Sky Fits Heaven by Madonna on Youtube.com   **WhiteShadows by Coldplay on Youtube.com

 7) If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would be it and what would you do all day?

Gah, I hate these questions because I love all my characters. I think I’ll cheat and say Helene Delornay at the pleasure house that is the center of the Simply series, because if I followed her around all day I’d probably get to meet up with a lot of my other characters who end up at her place as well and I could chat to them too. 🙂

8.) What world record would you love to set for the Guinness Book of World Records? (Remember, they take ALL KINDS of interesting talents into account. Some world records include *fastest 100m sprint, barefoot, on ice = 17.35 secs… *fastest pumpkin carving of a face = 24.03 secs… *longest distance pogo stick jumping = 23.11 miles)

When I was a kid I seriously tried to beat the record for balancing pennies on your elbow and catching them in your hand. I got pretty good at it, but never quite good enough. LOL Maybe I’d also go for ‘whole body tattooed with Hello Kitty designs’ because I have a secret passion for that cat.

 9) If you could have one word removed from the English language, from all dictionaries and out of everyone’s vocabulary, what would it be, and why? If you could ADD one word, what would it be?

When people change a noun into a verb like ‘summitting’  or ‘he summitted the mountain’ or ‘medalling’. Why? Why?
And I hate to sound like an old fogey but I’d quite like to see ‘thank you’ come back.

10) What is one thing about you that your friends know and you would love your readers to know as well. Or… if you’re in a giving mood… what is one story that your friends LOVE to talk you into telling that you don’t generally volunteer?

Well I’ve been told that in person I’m quite funny, despite my dodgy English accent. My friends laugh at my pronunciation of things. One family all now say- “Lets have Tackoes!! in honor of my accent as I can’t get my tongue around Tarko (Taco) as they say it here on the west coast. My youngest kid, who was born here tries to correct my accent all the time. She gets quite cross when I don’t get it right. LOL

 Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope this was something different, and that you had fun telling us a little more about yourself.

Thanks for having me-this was fun and I had to think about my answers!

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